Homeless Children
Who are they?

A homeless child is one who lacks a “fixed, regular and adequate nighttime place of abode.” In general, children or youth living in welfare hotels, transitional housing, shelters, the streets, cars, abandoned buildings, and other inadequate accommodations are considered homeless. This includes the following groups:

  • Children in Shelters
  • Doubled-up Children
    Living with another family due to lack of a permanent residence.
  • Migratory Children
    If accommodations are not fit for habitation.
  • Runaways
    Children who have run away from home and live in a shelter or inadequate
    accommodations, even if parents are willing to provide a home.
  • Throwaways
    Children whose parents or guardians will not permit them to live at home.

What Are Their Rights?

The Education for Homeless Children and Youth Program, as part of the Stewart B. McKinney Homeless Assistance Act ensure homeless children the right to:

  • A free, appropriate public education
  • Choose either to stay in the school or origin or attend the school nearest their shelter or temporary home
  • Immediate enrollment even when medical records cannot be produced at time of enrollment
  • Receive assistance with transportation, if needed.
  • A priority to pre-school programs

Where can you call for more information?

There are many sources of information on the legal rights of homeless children and the responsibilities of schools. If you have questions about enrolling homeless children or providing services, please call your local school district, your Regional Office of Education #11, or the Illinois State Board of Education at (800) 215-6379.

Journal Gazette-Times Courier First in Series of Homeless